It’s easy to get caught up in the patriotic elements of the weekend, but it’s also a nice long weekend with time to do other fun things, like a moonlight hike, a family Jam, a super sized movie or the most atmospheric Shakespeare in the park. If you’re looking for a way to mix up your 4th festivities, maybe this is the year to try a founding fathers show, an old fashioned barn dance or even a monster (truck) of a show.

Hogaboom Kids July 4th

Downtown

Grand Park 4th Of July
Boston has the Pops on the Esplanade, NY has the Macy’s show from your favorite rooftop and now LA has Grand Park’s annual epic celebration. This giant music-filled block party ends with the city sky being lit up. Sat., 3 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Downtown. Free. All ages. Event details.

Humpback Whales in 3D IMAX
Humpback Whales opens this weekend at the California Science Center in 3D IMAX, and it’s a larger than life up-close look at how these whales communicate, sing, feed, play and take care of their young. Fri.-Sun., Various times. Exposition Park. $4.25-$7. Ages 3 & up. Event details.

Baseball and Fireworks x2
You can see the Dodgers take on the Mets and then watch a fireworks display from the stadium either Friday or Saturday night this week. Fri. & Sat., 7:10 p.m. Elysian Park. $30 & up. All ages. Event details.

Griffith Park

Shakespeare at the Old Zoo
Free, fabulous productions of Shakespeare take place in a gorgeous, secluded spot where kids love to explore, picnic, hike and see the Bard. This summer’s productions are As You Like It or Romeo and Juliet. Fri.-Sun., 7 p.m. Griffith Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

Hollywood & Mid-City

Hollywood Bowl Fireworks Spectacular
The annual 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at the Bowl is always one of the best displays in town, plus it lasts for 3 nights, so you can get in some extra action before the big night. This year the concert is headlined by the King of Motown, Smokey Robinson. Fri. & Sat., 7:30 p.m. Hollywood. $5 & up. (Kids tickets are half price.) All ages. Event details.

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Frida Khalo!
Happy Birthday Frida! Come celebrate the life and art of Frida Khalo, whose birthday is on Monday.  Pop into the Zimmer’s art studio to paint a self-portrait. Eyebrows optional. Sun., 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Miracle Mile. $7. Ages 2-8. Event details.

Beverly Hills

Take A Moonlight Hike
Explore the park on the night before the fireworks, when the only light in the sky is from the moon. Fri., 7:30 p.m. Beverly Hills. $5. All ages. Event details.

Westside

Pali Parade, Concert & Fireworks
See the skydivers, watch the parade, hear a concert and then see the fireworks!  This picturesque celebration has a real small town feel, where everyone knows their neighbors and enjoys a sunny day of patriotism and celebration together that lasts day, evening and into the night. Sat., 1:50 p.m. Pacific Palisades. Free-$50 (reserved grandstand seats). All ages. Event details.

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Fam Jam with Lucky Diaz
Jam to whimsical Latin indie rock with a live concert by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Sun., noon & 2 p.m. West LA. $5-$10. All ages. Event details.

A Family Barn Dance
Step back in time with games for all ages (horseshoes, yard jenga, balloon darts, corn-toss & ring toss), face painting, a dunk bucket, pie eating contest, a cake walk, barbeque and fixins, beer, wine and music. Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Topanga. $8-$17.76. All ages. Event details.

San Fernando Valley

Studio City’s Special Fireworks
The festival is a benefit this year for the Special Olympics, which will be hosted in Studio City. Deana Carter headlines, and additional entertainment includes magic shows, pirates & mermaids, model airplanes, a kids fun zone, food and (of course) spectacular fireworks. Sat., 4:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Studio City. $10-$125. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

Firecracker Dash
Choose between the 5 K run/walk and the shorter Firecracker Dash (ranging from a literal dash to 1/4 mile run, depending on age) or do both.  Kids of all ages can participate and all go home with a t-shirt and medal. Sat., Various times. Redondo Beach. $25-$40. Ages 4 & up. Event details.

Meet the Founding Fathers
Celebrate Independence Day with some founding fathers, thinking about the origins of the holiday. You can also print the Declaration of Independence on a Colonial press, and chow down on all-American eats like hot dogs and apple pie. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Carson. $12/person or $40/family of 4. Ages 5 & up. Event details.

Inland Empire

Go Kaboom! with Monster Trucks
Monster trucks  are up first, then FMX stuntmen do their show, and then the Human Cannonball will soar 150 feet through the air. Finally the evening ends with a giant fireworks show. Sat., 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Pomona. $16-$25. All ages. Event details.

If you’re looking for a listing of all the family friendly fireworks and parades in town, boy have we got the list for you!

—Meghan Rose

Photo credits: Kahuku Photography and Meghan Rose